A structured workplace increases productivity and helps employees effectively meet daily, weekly or monthly expectations. An unorganized and chaotic workplace makes going to work every day feel like an energy-draining experience. If you're in a management position and have the authority to create a more disciplined work environment, communicating with your co-workers and subordinates about intended goals is a good place to start. A structured workplace helps employees understand how they fit into the big picture and helps you rest at ease, knowing you're not falling behind on productivity.
Communicate goals and expectations with co-workers and subordinates. The first step in creating structure is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Some workplaces lack structure because management hasn't taken time to discuss workload demands, long- and short-term goals and desired output. According to Business Management Consultant Tips, "Structure works best when it focuses more on defining work outcomes instead of work behaviors." Employees don't want to be micro-managed and told how to perform every little task, but they do want to know what's expected. Organize weekly meetings so you can discuss new projects, client expectations, project completions and desired outcomes.
Establish deadlines, benchmarks and productivity levels. A sense of urgency helps create order because it forces workers to get organized, ensuring employer expectations are met. You don't want to sacrifice quality for quantity, so make sure the deadlines and benchmarks are attainable. So you don't come across like an annoying task-master, avoid continually reminding employees of deadline times and dates and let them know they're responsible for keeping up with them. Consider rewarding hard-working employees with a bonus or additional holiday pay – money can be a strong motivating force.
Encourage work-related social interactions between employees. Many work demands require teamwork and the collaboration of ideas to produce the best products and services. According to the News Bureau at the University of Illinois, extensive learning-by-doing and on-the-job learning encourages colleagues to learn from each other. As colleagues learn from one another and hone their skills, a systematic work flow develops, defining each person's role in the unified project.
Eliminate distractions that interfere with productivity. To effectively meet deadlines and productivity levels, workers must be able to focus on job responsibilities. A structured workplace doesn't mean there's no room for breaks, personal phone calls or meal times; it just means that there's a designated time and place for those activities. Create a break room area and encourage employees to socialize, eat, drink, text, search the Internet and enjoy leisure reading time during their breaks. This type of structure provides some designated free time without it directly interfering with work demands.
- Establish a system of accountability so co-workers and subordinates have someone to talk to if they're having trouble with a client, project or assignment.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.